Thursday, September 10, 2009

in search for the Dutch equivalent of Preloved

despite having lived in Vancouver (Random Rain City) and Ottawa (where the climate ranges from -40 degrees to plus 40 degrees), i am finding it extremely difficult to dress properly for Amsterdam weather. i was given the name of a reliable weather watching website - however, it's entirely in Dutch. i've come to the conclusion that i simply did not pack the right clothes. so i found myself needing to go shopping once again. as if i didn't spend the whole summer in vintage haven Vancouver replacing my entire wardrobe.

Spui and its surrounding streets seem to be a major shopping district. most of the shops are not my style - Mexx, Esprit, H&M etc., all the places you can find in any city. i'm still searching for the local Dutch designers, but during my shopping trip, i made a pleasant discovery: the Individuals brand produced by the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. all of the clothes are designed by the students at the college, and even better, the store was having a major sale. i found the clothes to be rather hit-and-miss in style. some outfits were breathtaking, and others were probably a bit too hipster for my tastes. my main complaint was the available sizes - clearly these dresses were designed for tall Dutch folks, rather than wee Asian girls. still, i'm glad to find this store and do intend to keep an eye out on it in the future for the next season's releases...hopefully in my size. i can dream.

on my way home the other day, i came across a band rocking out on the roof of an old building. they were doing a cover of the Beatles' Get Back, and a crowd was gathering in the streets, dancing and enjoying the free show. it was pretty sweet to watch. colin comments on the fact that he finds the Dutch to be a cold people, practical, sensible and direct almost to the point of being rude. obviously it can't be all true - Vincent Van Gogh was certainly the emo rock star of painting, for example - but i do agree that all we foreign students ever see of the Dutch is them carrying out their every day duties, grocery shopping at the Albert Hein, biking to work, feeding their kids at Ikea. tourists and foreigners remain quite insulated from the local arts culture. so it was pretty nice to see people hanging out and enjoying the spontaneous street party. one day i'll break out of the foreign student bubble and find the cultural underground. maybe i need to learn some dutch first though.

i weighed myself at the Ikea today on one of their sensible practical bathroom scales, and i weight exactly the same as the last time i weighed myself in Canada. I guess all the weight i would have gained from my cheese heavy diet is being balanced by the fact that i bike between 20 to 40 kilometres a day.